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march-fixer: Track 2179 in area near New Zealand, Westland ()
Fox Glacier
Length: 7.5km, Creator time taken: 5h59m, Ascent: 561m,
Descent: 549m

Places: Start at Lon 170.044, Lat -43.4964, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1
This was an opportunity to climb up Fox Glacier as far as the ice-fall. The weather was excellent at the time for such an adventure. It is not a walk one is allowed tackle on your own, you have to use an official guide. This way you do not have to hump all your gear along as it will be provided by the Fox Glacier Centre.

At the centre we got fitted for jackets, boots and crampons. We then joined another small group of 6 people and were transported by 4x4 to a starting point about 2km from the edge of the glacier.

You then collect walking poles and climb up the valley towards the glacier along a narrow rocky track. We had an excellent guide who gave us a very comprehensive information feed as we trudged along. This way she was able to relate the information to the features we were passing or seeing at the time. Just at the edge of the glacier we donned our crampons and headed up and out over the glacier. Some steps had been cut into the ice but were constantly melting so the guide was constantly hacking improvements with ice chips flying in all directions from her ice-pick.

We carefully made our way further up the glacier and it was clear just how dangerous and difficult it is for alpine climbers to traverse such places. Towards the ice-fall we stopped for our lunch of sandwiches (I was hoping someone had a brandy cask). It is hard to balance, sitting on your heels, as there was nowhere to sit unless you used your jacket to keep you dry. If you dropped anything - it was gone! There were gaping crevasses all around and any dropped object skidded and just disappeared into the darkness.

We climbed right to the foot of the ice-fall where it got too dangerous to go further. The huge towers of ice were magical in their shades of aquamarine and the shapes were astounding. The sheer vastness of the area does strange things to your perception of size. Rocks at the edges of glacier looked to be 10m long when if fact they were over 30m in length. Distances are also similarly distorted.

We then gingerly made our way back down and returned to the 4x4. Since the weather was excellent we did not feel the chill while on the glacier but were still glad of the protection of the jacket. This is a trip well worth doing if ever in this area.

Uploaded on: Thu, 9 May 2013 (11:20:26)
Trackback: http://mountainviews.ie/track/2179/  
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Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 2h 26m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

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